Skip to main content

Union-Tribune Supports Impeachment Probe, Building A Granny Flat Just Got Easier, Street Medicine For The Homeless, The Booms And Busts Of California’s Sardine Industry, And Refugee Drama ‘Noura’ Opens At The Old Globe

Cover image for podcast episode

New polls show that more Americans are now in favor of impeachment and for the first time, the San Diego Union-Tribune has called for formal impeachment hearings. Also, San Diego County is offering free, pre-approved floor plans for granny flats. Plus, for the homeless, seeking medical care often means making a trip to the emergency room but health care providers are increasingly offering treatment out on the streets. A look at California’s sardine industry. Plus, USD’s Old Globe MFA playwright grad’s new play was inspired by Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” but reimagined for a new age with a geopolitical lens.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 More testimony is expected this week at the impeachment inquiry in Congress and house intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff says the whistleblower who passed on concerns about the president's call to Ukraine may soon testify before his committee with the release of the whistleblowers complaint and a memo of the president's call released by the white house. Early polls show more Americans are starting to support the impeachment inquiry, and among them is the editorial board of the San Diego union Tribune. The papers opinion recently came out under the title, quote, Trump impeachment probe needed to draw a line on what presidents can and can't do. And joining me is Matt hall editorial and opinion director at the San Diego union Tribune. And Matt, welcome. Thanks for having me. The union Tribune's editorial board has been critical of the precedent, but hasn't come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry until now. What is it about this charge against Donald Trump that you think merits and impeachment investigation?

Speaker 1: 01:00 Well, the accusation is that it was a, a blatant abuse of his presidential power, that he was exhorting a foreign leader to quote unquote dig up dirt. As you're hearing quite a bit on a potential political rival, uh, in, in Joe Biden. And that to us was a bridge too far. We had been talking about weighing in on, uh, the possibility of impeachment hearings for a long time, for months really and didn't want to do it. Didn't think it was necessary. We're worried that it might cause a rift in the country that might, you know, you will be very difficult to heal, but at some point principles matter and what a president can, can't do as the headline said, that's important. Now, the rationale that you just described is, is actually visually represented quite well by the political cartoon that you was Steve Brene did a next to this editorial.

Speaker 1: 01:56 Can you describe it for us? Yeah. Uh, it's a really strong and powerful image. It, it shows the president basically hanging upside down, uh, entwined in the cord of the phone symbolizing the Ukraine call. That is the issue that is at question here. Now you chose to start the op ed with reference to a quote from the ghost writer of Trump's art of the deal book. What did Tony Schwartz have to say that's relevant to this situation? Well, I think what Tony said was that this president, he believes what he says oftentimes when it's unbelievable what he says and that that was something that was troublesome to him back in the 80s when he was doing the research on the art of the deal and is I think relevant here. As you see, he that the president keeps using the word perfect to describe this phone call, which you know, the a w all we're saying is in supporting an impeachment inquiry is let's get to the bottom of these facts.

Speaker 1: 02:54 What is alleged to have happened is very troublesome and an impeachment inquiry. We'll hopefully get to the bottom of it. And you also write this inquiry should be focused solely on the Ukraine scandal. Why is that? You said that you were you and the paperwork close to calling for impeachment before this broke? Well, I don't think we were close. I think we had discussed it and decided not to do it, but the reason why this crossed the line is because this particular issue again is an a potential abuse of power for personal gain by the president of the United States. And that is a bridge too far for us and that is what needs to be looked at. If we start opening the door to other possibilities, it becomes muddied pretty quick. This one seems very specific, uh, and very easily determined to see what happened and why.

Speaker 1: 03:46 Because in addition to the phone call, obviously, and I encourage everyone to not just rely on what we write or what other journalists say or write, but to go and read the five page rough transcript and to read the nine-page whistleblower complaint. You're talking 14 pages. This is not the Muller report. This is a, you can read and digest it in short order and you should as Americans because what is is another thing at issue in that whistleblower complaint, at the very end, the whistleblower mentions the withholding of $400 million. It doesn't go into the details of it, but it essentially talks about the president personally involving himself to withhold hundreds of millions dollars of of American aid to the Ukraine. A decision that was made, you know, before these phone calls, when the president uses terms, and again you can read this yourself by looking at the documents in question uses words like favor and the other thing, so this doesn't look good.

Speaker 1: 04:41 We need to get to the facts as as all Americans should want to do. Now, Matt, even though early polls are moving toward supportive impeachment, Americans are still pretty much split on the issue. Some people are even wondering what could it will do considering it's unlikely that the Senate is going to remove Donald Trump as president. So why should the country go through this? Yeah, I think it's the principle of the matter. At a certain point, the country needs to decide what is and is not acceptable for a president to do and this, this notion that a president can call a foreign leader and have them investigate a political rival. That's an abuse of power targeting a political rival. Again, we'll see if that is in fact what happened. We'll look at the context of the aid that was withheld to the Ukraine. But what an impeachment hearing will allow is for Congress to hear directly from the whistleblower, but then also the people that the whistle blower heard from his or herself and that those people who were in the room who are referenced in, uh, the complaint and in the rough transcript, those people who have direct knowledge are the ones we need to hear from here.

Speaker 1: 05:50 And you know, maybe we are close to an election. The election is only 13 months away. One of the things that I personally been at had been saying for a long time is, you know, this is a big deal. Let's let get the, let's let the American public get on record here and vote in an election. Whether they think this is acceptable or not. But at the same point, presidential power is not absolute power. Congress exists for a reason and it has only happened a very few times in the history of this nation. But at [inaudible] there's a line I think that the nation should not accept, and this kind of a, you know, alleged abuse of power would cross that line. So let's figure out what happened. And that's, I think, Congress role here. What kind of response have you gotten from readers? A lot of readers agree with us. There are some who are a rigidly opposed as well, you know, and what I tell them is we're not calling for the president to resign. We're calling for Congress to look into this issue and get some answers for us, the American public. And I think that is a rational, reasonable response to the information that emerged last week. I've been speaking with Matt hall, editorial and opinion director at the San Diego union Tribune. Matt, thank you. Happy to be here.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The lack of affordable housing in San Diego County seems to be one of those problems that just never goes away. But last week, County supervisor Diane Jacob [inaudible] put forward a program meant to spur the construction of so called granny flats, also known as accessory homes to close that affordable housing gap. Katelyn Bigelow owns a company called maximal space that helps people who are interested in building or converting an existing building into a granny flat. Caitlin joins us via Skype. Caitlin, welcome.

Speaker 2: 00:30 Hi, thanks so much for having me.

Speaker 1: 00:32 So supervisor Jacob's program boils down to permit ready no cost. Floorplans one 600 square feet to the other 1200 square feet. Uh, Jacob says having permit ready plan shaves $15,000 off. The price of building. Sounds pretty straightforward, but is it

Speaker 2: 00:51 well, so I think, okay, this is a really great step that the County is taking and we're seeing a lot more cities across California kind of move in this direction of offering these preapproved plans, but it's not quite as straightforward, I think, as most homeowners assume. So they hear the word free plans and I think, great, there's no design cost at all for these. And that's not quite accurate. So essentially what the County is offering is structural preapproved plans. Um, but you would still need a designer or a drafts person to, uh, draw up the plans with the accessory dwelling unit on your property, for example. So that's your site plan and you would also need to do the title 24 calculations, which is the energy requirement set forth by the state. So there still would be a dramatic cost savings and it's still a great option for homeowners, but it's not like you can walk into the permitting department, grab a plan, and start building the next day.

Speaker 1: 01:49 Mmm. And one thing the state is mandating homeowners provide in 2020 with these is energy calculations known as titled 20 fours. That cost is not covered in the counties program. What will that mean for people who want to renovate a, a structure or build a new granny flat?

Speaker 2: 02:06 Yeah. So the title 24 is, or the energy calculation that's set by the state. And so we're seeing a big change in the title 24 calculations as a January 1st, 2020, which is going to push all, not just 80 years accessory dwelling units or granny flats, but all new, um, new construction into net zero energy requirements, which is going to mean that I'm essentially people will need to start putting solar on new construction.

Speaker 1: 02:36 And you know, the city of San Jose is making a big push to encourage the construction of granny flats, but it hasn't all been smooth sailing. What challenges is San Jose facing? And do you see San Diego facing the same problems?

Speaker 2: 02:51 Well, I think, I think that cities have their hearts in the right places. They really want to make a big push and see 80 use as a way to help alleviate the housing crisis. And in that sense that they're correct. But I think part of the problem that cities are facing right now is that we don't have a lot of data right. Or data sometimes as being ignored in the decision making process. So for example, San Jose recently a, actually just this month announced preapproved clans. Um, but they still have, despite kind of this top down, uh, you know, requirement saying, Hey, look, we're trying to get more of these built. We want to make this easier for homeowners. We want to make this more accessible. They still have some rules and regulations in place that are making it really challenging for people. So I'll give you an example.

Speaker 2: 03:38 Um, they only allow a two bedroom accessory dwelling unit if it's okay. If you're a lot sizes over 9,000 square feet, which is a very large lot. So that eliminates 83% of the residential lots in San Jose cannot build one of these granny flats and have two bedrooms. So there's some, I think that there's still some missed opportunities that are popping up. And um, so it'll be interesting to see how cities start to adapt some of their regulations and some of their preapproved plans once we have a little bit more data that shows what are the sizes that homeowners are actually building the most. And you know, a lot of homeowners might be thinking about renovating a space into a granny flat or building a new one for the extra income it can provide. How do you help your clients figure out how much money a granny flat can actually bring in?

Speaker 2: 04:27 Yeah, so one of the things that we do is we try to make as many data driven decisions for homeowners as possible. So we have a ton of case studies and articles on our website. We have break even calculators. Um, we have just a ton of free tools and information. Um, one of the things that I would recommend if people are exploring this is to look at what a granny flat brings to you in terms of value. So most people think, I think, Oh granny flat passive rental income. I'm going to rent this out and you know, I'm going to earn all of this extra monthly income. But we're actually seeing that the number one reason why people are building these is for aging family members. And so you want to think about, if you're thinking about it from a cashflow perspective, you want to think about, okay, well what are comparable, you know, one bedroom or two bedroom places renting for in my area.

Speaker 2: 05:18 And then you can kind of look at like a high end version or look at a low end version and say, okay, well this, this kitchen is a 1980s kitchen. It's not that nice. I'm seeing it on Craigslist, it's renting for you know, $1,100 a month and I know my place will be better. Therefore I, I assume that I can rent higher than this one. On the other side of that, if you're thinking about, you know, building one of these for a family member, you can start looking at, okay, well what do assisted living facilities costs? You know, if an assisted living facility is going to cost $4,000 a month and I don't have the increase in property value from building something new and nice on my property, you know, is this investment makes sense for me. So these are some of the considerations that we help families who are thinking about doing this walk through.

Speaker 2: 06:05 And as we mentioned before, the County began waving those permit and development fees earlier this year, the County says, uh, that it'll cut another 15,000 off the price of building a granny flat. How much has that action helped to spur new construction or renovations of existing properties? Yeah, the, the, the, the waiver of development and impact fees has been a huge benefit to homeowners. So we saw city of San Diego way of their development and impact fees last July, uh, County followed along soon after waiving their development and impact fees. These fees, you know, charging $15,000 just for the permit costs. Um, sometimes that can be a deal breaker for families. You know, a lot of people who are doing this are doing it because they have a real need either to help support family or because they're looking for cashflow and having excessive fees of, you know, 15 or $20,000 when you have a relatively tight budget.

Speaker 2: 06:59 You know, unfortunately that kills a lot of projects. So we've seen a big increase in applications just since those fees have been waived. And is there anything else you think the County should be doing to encourage the building of granny flat? I think that the waiver of fees is certainly a step in the right direction. Absolutely. I think that streamlining the process and making preapproved plans available to homeowners is also fantastic. I think the next big hurdle for people is just the education. You know, these are complicated projects. Uh, you know, homeowners stand to gain a lot from being able to build one of these things. But at the end of the day, most homeowners have not embarked on a project like this before. And so that's where we're trying to kind of create additional resources for homeowners, you know, education, webinars, outreach, those kinds of things. I've been speaking with Caitlyn Bigelow, owner of maximal space. Caitlin, thanks so much. Absolutely. Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 The homelessness crisis in California gets labeled a public health crisis time and time again, but for those living at homelessness as a personal health crisis multiplied more than 100,000 times over statewide. Our California dream collaboration is looking at solutions to some of the problems facing this state. Matt to NOCO of KPCC has this story from LA on how outreach workers are addressing some of those health needs.

Speaker 2: 00:29 It's a hot September morning and I'm walking down a street in Venice, Los Angeles with dr Coley King. Here's third in rows. It's a sprawling block, long homeless and camp met with maybe 30 tents under the beating late morning sun Kings, one of the doctors in LA County who practices what's called street medicine.

Speaker 3: 00:47 These patients are very sick. These patients die very young. They need medical care. It's let's get better medical care to them and let's give them a better medical home that they can come into.

Speaker 2: 00:57 King works out of a nearby free medical clinic that he refers all his patients to living on the street shaves 30 years off a person's life expectancy. The median age of death outside is about 52 the goal of street medicine is there proactively include people in a healthcare system that's otherwise inaccessible until they hitch a ride in an ambulance to the ER.

Speaker 3: 01:17 And how have you feeling now on these medications? I love these medications cause I'm not tired.

Speaker 2: 01:23 Shawnda Thorton has been on several of those expensive hospital trips since she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure back in January.

Speaker 3: 01:30 I feel when they walk a block or two I'll feel fine. I could walk all the way up to the 99 cent store and back.

Speaker 2: 01:36 She's in her forties and has been in the hospital more than not this year.

Speaker 3: 01:39 September is the first month that I have it.

Speaker 2: 01:42 Sean does conditioned would be challenging even if she wasn't homeless. She was given a defibrillator vest and instructions to always aware it. But it malfunctions. SG sweats through the summer, living inside her nylon tent.

Speaker 3: 01:53 It would say that I was having a heart attack, but I was just really perspiring a whole lot.

Speaker 2: 01:57 So she keeps the vest in its box in a shopping cart beside her tent. She doesn't have a place to charge it.

Speaker 3: 02:03 It's like a pain and trying to keep it, keep it going.

Speaker 2: 02:07 So Dr. King works a compromise, stay on her meds, get checked up in the clinic every now and then and make sure her encampment, neighbors know to call nine one one if they see her in trouble. For Dr. King, the goal is to ensure Shonda has access to ongoing medical care that keeps her out of the ICU.

Speaker 1: 02:25 Street medicine has been a vehicle to stop the bear go around a little bit.

Speaker 4: 02:29 Corrine Feldman is a USC researcher who studies health outcomes for homeless patients. Reducing the Merry go round trips in and out of the hospital by homeless people is basically the main reason there's more medical practitioners working on the street everywhere in the state than there ever has been before. LA County has almost 40 teams on any given weekday reaching homeless people where they are.

Speaker 1: 02:50 There's a multitude of reasons why they might legitimately want to access that care, but they legitimately cannot.

Speaker 4: 02:55 Research shows that street medicine can encourage patients to more regularly seek medical attention that can lead to reduced ER visits and greater overall trust between patients and homeless outreach providers. The reality is though, people are going to be on the street for the foreseeable future.

Speaker 2: 03:12 King says Californians need to look beyond the garbage and the tents and to really see the people out there who are struggling to survive

Speaker 3: 03:18 the pitfall of labeling a public health crisis. It becomes a reactionary, not in my backyard issue where it doesn't need to be that that's, that's not what this is about. This is about the individuals who are sicker than the rest of us and are dying sooner than the rest of us.

Speaker 2: 03:33 That is the squalid conditions on the street are mostly a risk for those who live in them. Not so much the rest of us. As for Shonda when it comes to getting off the street, she's actually doing better than most.

Speaker 3: 03:45 Right now I'm searching. I have a voucher. I'm searching for housing.

Speaker 2: 03:49 A public housing voucher is a major step towards finding a home. The next is actually locating and somewhere to use it. Her problem is just that she's been sick though. She's had several appointments to meet with property managers.

Speaker 3: 04:01 Every time I had an appointment or something I would be in the hospital,

Speaker 2: 04:05 which means her voucher is now close to expiring. Dr King's job is to make sure she stays on her meds, stays out of the hospital, and actually has time to find a place to live. The street is no place to heal.

Speaker 3: 04:17 You can work on it. This is certainly a place to start working, but to fully heal around here, I don't think, I don't think it's possible,

Speaker 2: 04:26 but it's the only place Shonda has to start

Speaker 1: 04:29 joining me is KPCC reporter Matt to Noko and Matt, welcome to the program. Hi, thank you for having me. Now your comment that squalid conditions on the street are much more of a health risk for the homeless than for the general public. We certainly found that out here in San Diego during the hepatitis a outbreak. That disease stayed almost entirely within the homeless community. So is there a lot of talk that public health is at risk from homeless encampments

Speaker 4: 04:59 locally, at least in Los Angeles County that has been brought up several times over the past. Really the past year there've been a couple of court cases and then sort of in the lead up to the rulings on those court cases. Uh, there's been a sort of PR uh, effort to tie homeless encampments to a general wider public health of, of people who are not homeless and say that these encampments are risks for the wider public and people should be worried about getting sick because of the conditions on the street. The, the problem is, is that when, as I've actually poked into some of those cases, is that it hasn't really born out. And the reality is, is that for the rest of us, those of us who are not homeless, we can go home, we can take a shower, we have access to regular regular medical care. It doesn't pencil, at least in what I've been able to find out.

Speaker 4: 05:44 And, and that involves basically reaching out to the local County health departments. The flip side is that for the people who are actually living in the encampments, they don't have running water, they don't have a way to clean up, they don't have access to regular medical care, and they're the ones who are living in these conditions. So it is much more of a risk. Like if we walk by in and camp man and go home and take a shower, the wool that's were clean. Whereas if I'm living in new continent, that's not, it doesn't pencil that way. What are some of the most frequent medical complaints from people living on the street? Really anything that you or I can get sick with will will happen outside. One of the things that's most common I know is pneumonia because it's, say somebody gets the flu, but then they're living outside and maybe it's winter, so they're always cold and if it's been railing then they're always a little bit wet and that makes it very hard.

Speaker 4: 06:27 And then really the, the one of the major things that happens outside is, is compounded physical trauma. So say you fall and break a bone. The problem is is that you're not gonna go to the ER necessarily and have that bone reset properly so it might, it might not heal correctly. And then that turns into a sort of latent disability that lasts longer. So say, well actually when I was reporting this story, we met one woman who, she had her broken collarbone. The collarbone was beginning to heal though, but it wasn't healing in a way that she would have been able to really use her right arm. So it would have compounded into a physical disability and that that happens a lot. So some people get hit by cars, people get assaulted, and then the injuries compound into a physical disability that ends up affecting them for the remainder of their life.

Speaker 4: 07:11 You said in your report that being homeless takes about 30 years off a person's life expectancy, which is just a tragic situation. I know the reasons for that may seem obvious, but could you break them down a bit? What are some reasons why being homeless causes such a threat to life and health? So there's everything that we just said. Uh, but then just living outside is extremely stressful for a human body to take. So that stresses is you have your elevated cortisol levels and that just wears on a body. Then another one is just sleep deprivation. This is one of the things that I try to underscore a lot and says, okay, if you're living on a sidewalk next to say a busy street, you're never ever going to be able to actually get into a deep sleep. Mostly because, I mean you want, you could be worried about getting hurt or something.

Speaker 4: 07:59 But then also just to say somebody with a loud muffler drives by, so you're gonna get constantly woken up. Nobody who's living outside gets a restful night of sleep and now you compound that over one day or, or a week or a month or a year. That's also just wearing down a body to the point that your immune system can't respond as well as it necessarily would be able to if you were. Um, and then all that, and that just compounds into that 30 year shorter life expectancy. More or less. Now here in San Diego we have street health teams as well. One started by father Joe's villages. We also have doctors in training at UC San Diego who set up street clinics to treat the homeless. Are there also teams from different agencies working in LA? There are, so with our measure H funding, the sales tax measure that LA County voters passed a couple of years ago to fund homeless services.

Speaker 4: 08:51 We're funding a variety of different health responses to homelessness. Some hospitals will fund little street outreach teams. Some of it comes from the mental health departments. Other comes from the public health departments, but the key is basically just making sure that when our homeless outreach teams go out, there are medical providers on there. Now I know there was a big push several years ago to try to get homeless people who are using emergency rooms frequently into supportive housing. The idea being it's going to be better for the people who are homeless and it's going to save an awful lot of money. Where does that effort stand? So supportive housing, supportive housing model is still the sort of modus operandi for how we're dealing with homelessness in California. It is basically designed to take people who are on the street and have been deteriorating for a very long time and put them inside and basically give them everything that they need to get better.

Speaker 4: 09:43 That is still our model and what we are doing to address homelessness. The problem is just that supportive housing units are costly to build and they take a while. Meanwhile, you have more people falling onto the street and also continuing to deteriorate. The, the challenge is how do you create supportive housing units more quickly and more inexpensively than how we are doing them right now. So that's really where we are right now is how do we build housing units that are of a high quality and relatively inexpensive to deal with the increasing numbers of people falling onto the street and then continuing to deteriorate. I've been speaking with KPCC reporter Matt to Noko and Matt, thank you so much. Thank you.

Speaker 5: 10:25 [inaudible].

Speaker 1: 00:00 Old globe, USD Shailee, master of fine arts program graduate. Heather Raphoe is having the West coast premiere of her plate. Nora at the Globes intimate theater in the round. She is the daughter of an Iraqi father and an American mother. Her play is inspired by Ibsen's a doll house and an earlier Nora KPBS arts reporter Beth Hawk. Amando attended the first tech rehearsal last week to get this preview.

Speaker 2: 00:26 Heather, to begin with, explain a little bit about what your play Nora is about and what the inspiration was. It's about a marriage. It's about motherhood and it's about the balance between individual pursuits and community pursuits and I think that very much happens as a mother in a family. The inspiration came from primarily I was leading theater workshops in New York where I'm living with women in a middle Eastern community and we ended up reading adults house after a few years of working with them on their own narratives. And so this play kind of picks up as a pushback to that very famous Ibsen story. The reason why it's a, it's a pushback is that so many of the women I was working with had already left home in that kind of massive door slam heard around the world way. A lot of them were refugees, a lot of them had fled countries.

Speaker 2: 01:33 And I was interested in looking at an entire family that had already lived that both the men and the women in the family and how they are life in America, how they view it here, how they try to hold onto what they left behind and how they try to move forward. Tell us a little bit about your background, your personal background and how that played into this. So my father was born in Iraq and my mother is American. My dad's American now too. Um, so I would say since I was 20 I've been kind of bridging both of those cultures and both of those worlds. And I have watched friends and family members and lots of people that have come to America from Iraq view their identity in a very personal and different way. So people in the play, some of them feel like they've come here and absolutely adopted American lifestyle and others haven't.

Speaker 2: 02:30 And there's a lot of conflict between who feels what when and how you do all that in one family and you've tackled issues of this before in plays. How did you want to deal with those issues in this play differently from how you had in the past? Well my first play very much dealt with Iraq. He's still living in Iraq and this play is absolutely about a family that is now American. And I think that what they're trying to embrace, as I said before, is the pole between community and individualism. And America is really based on rugged individualism that offers a lot of things. But when people come from communities and countries that the whole entire social fabric is about togetherness. Taking those kind of individual steps is a push pull. And I think that we're dealing with the, all Americans are dealing with that right now.

Speaker 2: 03:29 We're, we're seeing what happens when we have only an individualistic approach and how much more we need to root in community. So it's both. I mean the Nora Helmer of a doll's house wakes up to her individualism. Right. And that's been prized as this beacon of feminist literature in the theater. And I, and I, I don't know what I, I F I feel about that. I kind of roll my eyes and sad. I don't know if, if I believe that's the exact approach. There's a whole way of thinking an Arab feminism that deals much more with community and how you move forward as a group rather than purely as an individual though this production is being done in the round. How do you think the play works in that kind of setting? Is it, uh, lend itself to that? Absolutely. Yes. It absolutely lends itself to working in the round nor as an architect and everything about what she's doing, visioning to build both in her personal space and in the house she's imagining for her family is about what walls are keeping her and protecting her and what walls she is pushing away.

Speaker 2: 04:38 So when the audience and people themselves are walls, that very much plays into how the gays and the pressure of society is looking in on her and how they're embracing her. It works really well on a Tulsa, very intimate obviously, which always works for apply. And what was most challenging about putting this play together and conveying the ideas you wanted to get across? There are two things that I found very challenging and they're both gender related and one was that we want our lead female characters to be sympathetic always. And that tends to mean they can't be strong and difficult. They can be strong, but they, if they're sympathetic, they can't always be difficult in and York can be very difficult. I found it interesting that audiences really wanted to come feel very bad for this refugee family. They wanted to feel bad and love them and want to help them in all these ways and she doesn't want pity.

Speaker 2: 05:44 So that was very interesting to see how audiences reacted to a woman who didn't want to be sympathetic. Um, the other thing I thought was challenging was that the husband has lived through as much as Nora and he's a really dear and loving guy and he says one kind of mean thing. Yeah. And I think that the fact that the husband says this one line is, is meant to lead an audience to realize that things get set in a marriage and people move past it. But I, I did find that a lot of people wanted to feed into the stereotype and say that that one line colors colors all men or colors middle Eastern men in this particular way. And I, I think that those were the challenges that I'm still kind of tinkering with. And what the, um, is it in the playing of it?

Speaker 2: 06:36 Is it in the text? How does, how does one allow an audience to see these issues as a way more complex rather than more stereotypical? Heather, you are one of the Globes, MFA graduates. What does that mean? What did that program do for you? Well, it did, I mean it obviously did a lot for me. It was the training that we all use to start our careers. Um, but I think one of the most profound things that it did for me was it coupled a deep love of classical and Shakespeare training while pushing us in our thesis moment to write new work. So bridging the new American theater with, you know, the classics is a lot of what Nora came out of [inaudible]. And tell us a little more about Nora's character. You said she's an architect and what else distinguishes her? The biggest thing that really distinguishes her as is this lack of being, needing to be sympathetic. There's so many ways women are hoping to express their opinion and they couch them in ways that make them palatable, right? They play small or they play kind or they play nice in order to say the thing they came to say. And she is discovering through the course of the play that that didn't serve her and that the thing she lost, she probably lost because she did that. Heather Rafa's play. Nora runs through October 20th at the Globes, Cheryl and Harvey white theater.

KPBS Midday Edition podcast branding

KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.